Felicia vs the instant pot round 2! It feels like I’m the only person on the internet who is not an Instant Pot convert. Maybe because I’m a lousy cook? Could be. Actually, that’s probably it. But since everyone raves about how great it is, including those that I happen to know are excellent cooks, I’m going to keep trying.
This week the weather has been warming up, so I didn’t want to make anything too heavy. I decided to try shredded chicken tacos. One, because I adore tacos and two, because this recipe from Well Plated by Erin sounded manageable and delicious. Click the link above for the original recipe. I’ve put in my non-expert version with notes in italics.
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4 small/medium or 3 medium/large), cut in half if large (I would highly recommend using boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead)
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- 1 small (or 1/2 large) yellow onion, thinly sliced (I diced mine)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced (use the frozen minced garlic from Trader Joes, it will change your life!)
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 3 chipotle peppers in adobo (individual peppers, NOT 3 cans), finely chopped (if you love heat, feel free to add an extra pepper or stir in a few teaspoons of sauce from the can) (These are SO GOOD!)
- 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes in their juices
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (Expert tip: make sure you have enough lime juice for the recipe BEFORE you make yourself a cocktail…)
For the Avocado Sauce:
- 1 ripe avocado, peeled and pitted
- 3/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt (I used whole milk because fat is delicious)
- 2–4 tablespoons fresh lime juice (see note above)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- I added fresh cilantro and diced avocado .
- Season both sides of the chicken with kosher salt and black pepper.
- Set the Instant Pot to sauté. Heat olive oil. Once hot and shimmering, add half the chicken and sear both sides for 2 to 3 minutes each, just until brown (the chicken does not need to be cooked through). Do not disturb the chicken while each side sears. Remove to a plate and set aside. Add the second half of the chicken and sear each side for 2 to 3 minutes each. Remove to the same plate. (I was pleased at the browning on the chicken. I didn’t expect the Instant Pot to achieve this.)
- With the Instant Pot still on sauté, add more olive oil. Add the onion, garlic, chili powder, and kosher salt. Let cook 3 minutes, until the onion beings to soften. Turn the Instant Pot off (on my model, I hit CANCEL). Stir in the chipotle peppers, tomatoes, and reserved chicken. Arrange the chicken pieces in a single layer (a little overlap is OK, and the chicken will be touching). Pour the lime juice over the top.
- Lock the lid in place. Cook on manual pressure for 8 minutes. As soon as the time is up, vent immediately. (I followed this from the original recipe and I think it made the chicken a little rubbery. When I make this again, I will allow the chicken to vent naturally for 8 minutes) Once you can open the lid, turn the Instant Pot off, and then remove the chicken to a large bowl or plate. Turn the Instant Pot to SAUTE. Bring the cooking liquid to a simmer. Let simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid reduces by about half. Meanwhile, shred the chicken with two forks (or, once it is cool enough, your fingers).
- Once the liquid is reduced, turn the Instant Pot off, return the chicken into the Instant Pot, and then stir the chicken to coat in the sauce.
- Prepare the avocado sauce (I like to do this while the chicken is pressure cooking): In a food processor, blend together the avocado, Greek yogurt, 2 tablespoons lime juice, and salt until smooth. Taste and add additional salt or lime juice as desired.
- Heat corn tortillas and top with the chicken, drizzle with avocado sauce, and add any desired toppings. Enjoy immediately.
The flavor of the chicken was delicious, but as I noted before, the texture was off a little bit. I think that swapping the chicken breast for chicken thighs and allowing the meat to vent naturally would help. I made the accompanying avocado sauce, but I think I accidentally added too much greek yogurt and I didn’t have enough lime juice because of the cocktail I made for myself as a reward for cooking. The cocktail was totally worth it, but the avocado sauce suffered. I think the tacos would have been equally good with sour cream and avocado slices and it would have saved me some dishes, although the sauce was very pretty. The fresh cilantro was a very nice addition, if you like cilantro.
And now, for those of you who made it all the way to the end of this blog, I’ll include my cocktail recipe. It works beautifully with this meal and is so easy:
1 oz vodka or tequila
8 oz Trader Joe’s Organic Jalapeno Limeade
1 lime wedge
Pour over ice, stir and consume responsibly!